Montana’s overreaching courts need to be reined in

The Montana Supreme Court and several district court judges have become completely unmoored from the plain text of the Montana Constitution and the separation of powers among our three branches of government.

Here’s a quick recap of just some of their most egregious recent actions:

  • The Supreme Court overturned four common sense election integrity laws — like Voter ID — passed by the Legislature, despite the constitution giving the Legislature the explicit authority to regulate election administration. Even the two dissenting justices chastised their colleagues for engaging in unconstitutional overreach.
  • The Supreme Court mandated the governor and secretary of state issue an unconstitutional veto override poll. A majority of state senators signed letters pledging not to participate in this unconstitutional action.
  • The Supreme Court gave a proposed constitutional initiative on abortion preferential treatment compared to all other voter initiatives, cutting the Legislature out of the process. The justices bent over backwards to reward their liberal donors who’ve spent six figures getting many of them elected.
  • The Supreme Court interfered in the Legislature’s internal processes (which they now claim they’ll fix), interpreting legislative rules incorrectly along the way, as they ordered taxpayer money be sent to their liberal attorney friends.
  • District court judges blocked bipartisan pro-housing legislation that was challenged by a high dollar liberal lawyer and issued a ruling that threatens to shut down nearly all energy production in the state. Those judges are raising the cost of living and preventing housing solutions as homelessness skyrockets.
  • The Montana Supreme Court previously deleted public record emails, quashed their own subpoenas for their public records, and misled the Legislature and the public about their actions.

Montana’s governor, attorney general, secretary of state, both chambers of the Legislature, and many more have been raising alarm about our out-of-control courts. The rule of law does not allow two tiers of justice, where Montana’s courts give special treatment to liberal Democrats and violate the constitution against conservative Republicans.

Senate President Jason Ellsworth has launched a new Senate committee to examine the courts’ abuses of power and recommend legislation to the 2025 Legislature to address the problem.

But voters are the ones who will get the next crack at reining Montana courts back into their constitutional role. Two Supreme Court seats and multiple district court judgeships are up for election this year.

Voters must demand that judicial candidates clearly state where they stand on the separation of powers, and vote accordingly.

By: Don “K” Kaltschmidt is chairman of the Montana Republican Party.